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Armenian PM accuses Azeri soldiers of fresh border violation, dismisses defense minister

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has alleged that Azerbaijan’s soldiers violated the border again, sacking his Defense Minister Arshak Karapetyan over the incident.

According to a report by Russia’s Interfax news agency on Monday, Pashinyan did not give details on the scale of the alleged incursion but told Armenia's Security Council that he had dismissed Karapetyan in that regard.

The council said the incident took place on Sunday but Azeri soldiers had since left, RIA, another Russian news agency, reported.

Baku has not yet commented on the allegation.

According to the TASS news agency, Yerevan has already reported the incident to Russia and the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an intergovernmental military alliance of post-Soviet countries, to which Armenia is a member state.

Following decades-long tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the two neighbors fought a 44-day war in September 2020 over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. An estimated total of 6,500 people were killed on both sides. A Russian-brokered ceasefire finally ended the conflict in November, and left Azerbaijan largely in control of the territory.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been populated by ethnic Armenians. Russia has deployed 1,960 peacekeepers to the region for an initial five-year period. Since the truce, the two sides have accused each other of breaching the peace deal.

The ceasefire ended the war but tensions remain high between the two sides and the accord left many questions unsettled, including the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenians who still live there. Before the military conflict, the number of ethnic Armenians in the contested region would reach the 150,000 mark.

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